The £20m Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru has now opened for business in Broughton. The state-of-the-art centre will be a catalyst for growth and jobs in Deeside; across North Wales and the wider cross-border and Northern Powerhouse region.
It was officially opened on 28th November by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates. The centre will provide businesses with a new level of research and development opportunities and support.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said “This is a world-class facility, which will be a key driver in bringing the latest research, technology and skills to Deeside and the wider North Wales region.
“AMRC Cymru will be of benefit for generations to come in North Wales and is part of our aim to have a more prosperous and equal Wales.”
The advanced manufacturing research centre will enable businesses to access advanced technologies, helping them to drive improvements in productivity, performance and quality. Situated in the Deeside Enterprise Zone, it will focus on advanced manufacturing sectors, including aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food.
The region has a strong manufacturing base and AMRC Cymru will build on this, driving world-class research and expertise across the supply chain.
Backed by £20 million from Welsh Government, and managed by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the centre will spark economic growth by developing innovation, commercialisation and the development of a new generation of skills.
It is predicted the new centre could increase GVA to the Welsh economy by as much as £4bn over the next 20 years.
The centre will operate a 2000 square metre open access research area. Airbus will be the first major tenant and will have a platform to develop its next generation wing technologies aligned to its Wing of Tomorrow programme, which is part of a global Airbus investment in research and innovation.
Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates said “AMRC Cymru is a real game-changer for the economy of North Wales. It will boost the region’s reputation for manufacturing excellence and its impact will be felt across Wales.
“Projects such as this help to drive innovation and excellence, enhancing Wales’ reputation a as place to invest and do business. It will play a key role in bringing academia and businesses closer together, boosting skills.
“It’s an amazing facility, developed by the Welsh Government, operated by the University of Sheffield AMRC, bringing the very latest innovations and potential opportunities straight to North Wales. It will raise productivity in the region and along with the North Wales Growth Deal and our investment in infrastructure will allow North Wales to fulfil its economic ambition.
“It’s a very real pleasure after only 3 years from concept to delivery for me to see it now ready to open for business.”
Airbus senior vice president Paul McKinlay, head of the company’s Broughton plant, said “We’re delighted to be the first major business tenant of AMRC Cymru. The facility is world-class and the perfect home for our most significant research and technology programme Wing of Tomorrow.
“The programme will inform the next generation of wings so when we launch a new aircraft programme, we’ll have the technologies and systems ready to design and build the wings at the rate we need them.
“The fact the Welsh Government chose this area to invest in such innovation underlines the value of the business in the region and we look forward to seeing the development of cutting-edge technologies in a range of industries as a result of this.”
AMRC Cymru was concept designed by Arup and Austin-Smith:Lord from a standing start to planning within a very tight timescale of 12 weeks before being detailed and tendered in order to get the design and build contractor Galliford Try, selected from the North Wales Framework following an extensive tender process, and their design consultants with Arup and Austin Smith Lord remaining client side to ensure quality and compliance with the original concept.
Executive Director Richard Cronin of the practice said “It has been a pleasure to be involved with this ground breaking scheme from inception to completion. We as a team have all learnt so much about the processes and technologies that can develop from this building, seeing just a snapshot of what may be possible. This facility will secure the future of skilled advanced manufacturing and underpins the commitment under the 2015 Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act to educate and skill the region for many years to come.“